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Soon, weather forecasting monitors to be installed at select mandis: IMD

The farmers shall now be spared the agony of seeing their produce going waste while waiting to dispose it off at a mandi. India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Ministry of Agriculture in different states have come out with a new initiative to forecast weather for farmers visiting mandis. On a pilot project basis, the services would be made available in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The IMD has planned to release weather forecast in mandis with the help of state agriculture departments. “It’s a fact that mandis are open and when farmers bring their produce to sell they caught unaware by unseasonal rain that cause damage to their produce. To save farmers from such natural disturbances, the IMD has initiated a proposal to install weather forecasting monitors at mandis,” said newly appointed IMD DG KJ Ramesh.

Elaborating further, Ramesh said, “It will help farmers in knowing weather conditions prior to bringing their produce to the mandis. We are ready with the project as we just have to supply the data that we are already using at several airports as well as some capital cities.” The IMD is in discussion with different state governments to instal the weather forecasting monitors. Since IMD’s role is limited to only providing weather forecasting service, it’s the states that have to identify mandis to instal such monitors, Ramesh said.

Explaining the mechanism, a senior IMD official said, “India’s climate is very different from the developed countries such Britain, America, Germany, etc. The forecasting system would give alerts on changes in weather conditions such as rain, hailstorm, dust storm, etc. So a farmer planning to bring their produce to a nearby mandi can get a stock of the situation through traders present there and can hold back their produce if rain or any other climatic disturbances are predicted.”

When asked on the initiative, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, “Since agriculture is a state- subject, they are free to take farmer- friendly initiatives. The only concern of this government is welfare of farmers and if any institution is doing so, I appreciate that.” Singh further added that the weather forecasting would also help traders at mandis in roll out safety measures such as arranging tarpaulin sheets, temporary shelters, etc to cover grain.

Even though the country has emerged a leading producer of foodgrain such as rice, wheat, wastage of the same has also increased manifold. 

According to government report, about 1,94,502 metric ton of food grain worth crores of rupees got wasted in India due to various reasons between 2005 and March 2013. The damaged stock which stood at 95,075 MT in 2005-06 came down to 3,148 MT in 2012-13. The wastage was at 25,353 MT in 2006-07, 4,426 MT in 2007-08, and 20,114 MT in 2008-09, the report said.
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